Ahh, that’s why I’m traveling. What a gorgeous road and I never knew about it.
I headed out of Los Angeles on the 5 freeway on Thursday night and stayed in Taft, CA. In the morning I stumbled upon the Taft Oil Museum while getting lost trying to leave the city in the right direction. It’s a really lovely museum. It focuses more on the history of the town rather than oil specifically, but since the town started as an oil mining town it still makes sense to call it an oil museum. Eventually there will be a replica oil mining camp from the buildings on the ground. Most of those were closed while was there so I just enjoyed wandering around the main museum.
Driving around Taft, the area reminded me of what I suspect Los Angeles must have looked like in it’s early history. Low mountains surrounding a flat plain dotted with oil derricks. The scene above is near the beginning of highway 58, the route I was taking to get from the 5 to highway 1 along the coast. A fabulous road to start off the trip with. And the perfect example of the happy cows of California that are suppose to produce the best cheese. It seemed appropriate to stop and have lunch, (which did include cheese), on the side of the road near these cows. They were all a little concerned about my presence there, but it was fun to watch the young ones playing.
Further along the road, the buffalo couldn’t care less that I’d stopped. They stayed right up next to the fence making sure they got every blade of grass. I’d never seen buffalo up close, so I stuck around and took pictures here too. Anything really to break up the driving some. This was a long day as far as mileage covered since I wanted to skip anything that could be seen on a weekend trip from Los Angeles and I wanted to get up to the Bay area while it was still the weekend and I could visit with friends easily.
I’ve just realized I didn’t upload any pictures of Soda Lake, the whole point of taking this route between the 5 and the 1. I’ll have to add one on a later post, but it’s quite an interesting spot. It’s in the northern top of Carrizo National Monument, an area that is shaped by the San Andreas fault, which runs through it. A long time ago, (a quick google search isn’t giving me any dates, so you’ll have to get vague knowledge), much of what’s now California was covered by the ocean. That ocean shaped the land that we see now, (and the ancient sea life caused the oil deposits).
Carrizo National Monument and Soda Lake is a spot that I think I will have to visit again on a weekend trip from Los Angeles to explore more. For that first day however it was on to Highway 1 and the Big Sur.
Much has been written about the California coastline and the drive along Highway 1.Â It was a great drive for the sunset, but, of course, when you driving that winding road it takes quite a while to do. I stopped when it got dark and enjoyed it again in the morning light. I will not even attempt to do it justice here. I’ll just brag about the view outside my window when I woke up:
Below, you can just barely see the spot where I stayed, way off in the distance. It was the furthest curve of the coastline in this picture.
Along the way I listened to the start of Kevin Starr’s history of California as a book on tape. Very interesting focus a mental understanding of the history while driving around the state and focusing a mental picture of what it encompasses physically as well.
It was all along gorgeous roads, but quite a lot of driving for the first day. I enjoyed spending the last two days hanging out with friends in the bay area and am going to be doing the same thing for the next couple days as well. After that heading off north to spend some time in Point Reyes in Marin County. One of my favorite places in the US.